Feature

Traces of Inaugural Life

Geologists, biologists join forces to tell new stories about the first cells on Earth

By
10:47am, May 4, 2012

Earth’s first living organisms didn’t leave behind footprints or bite marks or bones. These single cells thrived quietly in a tiny pocket somewhere on the planet. For centuries, scientists trying to describe this earliest life have relied on evidence provided by biology, studying what features modern life-forms have in common to deduce the most primitive components of cells. By working backward, biologists have developed proposals describing when and where such simple forms of life could have arisen. But the ideas so far are guesses at best, impossible to prove.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News